Bob Dylan – Another Side of Bob Dylan Review

That harmonica-wielding hero of the 1960s does show another side to himself on Another Side of Bob Dylan, but it is so close to the persona of the time that the other side is more or less the same. Great tracks, ballad-like folk songs that run the mill of Willie Nelson. That is by no means a problem for Dylan here, who pulls together a great collection of tracks that feel more akin to high-scale crooning than world-beating narratives. Another Side of Bob Dylan is not a step down to the quality of Dylan’s other 1964 offering, The Times They Are A-Changin’, but it does feel a bit left of field considering where his music was going, and how it was to be consumed by the societal changes of the 1960s.

All I Really Want to Do for instance is a charming song about friendly intentions. But that raise in pitch between chorus and verse is a hokey bit of fun. A lighter touch to a track that has earnest integrity to it. There is no weak track to be found on Another Side of Bob Dylan. It is the second time round for listening to this release that gives strength to the bulk of the mid-section. Motorpsycho Nightmare may be a tongue-in-cheek link to Psycho, the Alfred Hitchcock feature, but it is a definitive track and one seeped in that light-hearted yet thoroughly tender style Dylan would offer time and time again.

Spanish Harlem Incident and Chimes of Freedom are integral, must-listen tracks. Another Side of Bob Dylan can never quite escape the inevitable qualities of a singer so integrally attached to the contemporary movement. With Chimes of Freedom, Dylan offers his hand to the oppressed, and with Spanish Harlem Incident, the message may be unclear even to Dylan, but the talent he offers to that track is incredible. Good words can come together without much meaning to craft something that sounds certainly engaging and interesting. That is what Another Side of Bob Dylan crafts. Not world-beating, best-of tracks, but some definitive ideas that the singer would soon compartmentalise with his later works.

For this album, he depends on the chimes of freedom flashing. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) feels introspective and personal, but there is no way of truly knowing. My Back Pages could be completely removed from Zimmerman, but the act of him approaching the subject and writing of it is more than enough to stoke the fire of his personal life. Another Side of Bob Dylan is another blank page of the unknowable artist at the core of it all. Strong tracks like Ballad in Plain D and the timeless It Ain’t Me Babe are rewarding and engaging listens. That much should be expected from Dylan regardless of decade, album or track, but Another Side of Bob Dylan is the calm before the storm of truly great work. Artists clamour for just one of those releases, Dylan had a decade of them, and it probably started here.

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